"I don't know where I am, but I'm glad to be here," Terry Bradshaw tells a cheering crowd in Somewhere, U.S.A. You'd be as glad to be there as the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback, too, if you got paid 5,000 bucks just for showing up and making a little speech.
Terry Bradshaw is getting it while he can, and apparently getting plenty of it. His life between the seasons, in the lucrative twilight zone of speaking engagements, recording sessions and the filming of commercials, is very merrily chronicled tonight in the third and last sigment of NBC's "Prime Time Saturday" with Tom Snyder, at 10 on Channel 4.
Segment producer Ray Farkas and crew followed Bradshaw around for 10 map-hopping days in which the quarterback who led his team to a 1980 Super Bowl win hustled himself to and fro for what he fondly refers to as "A Lot Of Money" -- $137,000 for this barnstorming blitz.
Bradshaw, a friend declares, "is, foremost, a business." And if he's "dumb," as once was rumored by the sports gossip industry, "We should all be so dumb."
In fact, Bradshaw comes off as an infectious, shrewd and self-effacing rowdy in this exquisitely edited report, which tells its story without narration (except for Snyder's studio intro and outro) and with an invigorating flush of hyperkinetic video mania. It's the TV of the future. iAgain.
The piece is fresh and industrious and gives a more intriguing impression of the playful and money-mad world of pro football than the movies "North Dallas Forty" and "Semi-Tough" put together.
Bradshaw comes across as a garrulous ham who'd be a match for Burt Reynolds in a good ol' boy romp any time. He sings about waking up to "the dream that's really true," and we see him wake up in bed with a portrait of himself, which he enthusiastically smooches.
He also kisses an airplane before it takes him up into the moneyed skies and kisses a little girl who comes up out of the audience at one of his personal appearances. In Nashville he sings only half-badly some gospel ditty about Jesus, on the ground, he ingenuously avers, that "there's money in anything."
Also on "Prime Time Saturday" tonight is producer Beth Polson's jolter about how convicted felons are able to receive social security benefits in prison. A child molester who says "I forgave myself" for the crime regularly receives payments because he claims to suffer "headaches and dizziness."
Reporter Jack Perkins ends the segment by visiting a woman whose husband was convicted of trying to kill her with a bomb; he only succeeded in crippling her for life, as it happens. Now, Perkins reports, the husband in prison collects larger social security disability payments than the wife he tried to murder.
This piece of journalism is topnotch alarmism all the way. 'Moviola'
Hollywood continues to evade Hollywood. And vice versa. And so NBC's six-hour, three-night production of "Moviola," which begins its trudge tomorrow night at 9 on Channel 4, looks to be nothing more than recycled old backstage soapers decorated to death with clumsily dropped names.
Producers David L. Wolper and Stan Margulies ("Roots" and "Roots 2") took three sections from Garson Kanin's seven-part novel and had them dramatized, though just barely, for TV. The first, "This Year's Blonde," is about the early career of Marilyn Monroe.
James Lee's adaptation, directed by John Erman, daintily omits Monroe's suicide and ends instead with the death of her lover and agent, Johnny Hyde, who haggles and grovels to get her into pictures and even leaps across movie czar Harry Cohn's desk to punch him in the nose.
Lloyd Bridges, who once played lover-boy to a Marilyn Monroe-like character in Paddy Chayefsky's "The Goddess," doesn't make the Hyde character particularly distinctive, and the actress given the difficult task of playing Monroe, Constance Forslund, is all right except for the way she looks, walks, talks, laughs, and does everything else. She might have a future if they ever make The Gena Rowlands Story, though.
Real people like Cohn, Jack L. Warner, Samuel Goldwyn and other illustrious and indispensable blowhards are portrayed and, generally, trashed, to no real purpose. Also, the name of "Garson Kanin" is muttered aloud once in reverence; he must have been one of the good guys in that wicked, wicked place!
Baloney like this -- part fact, part fiction -- is far inferior to any number of published accounts about old-time Hollywood's moguls and mongrels. To name just two books, Mel Gussow's Darryl F. Zanuck biography, "Don't Say Yes Until I Finish Talking," and Arthur Marx's "Mayer and Thalberg" both offer a far tastier and more authentic variety of evocative, colorful stuff.
It's wanly ironic and irritating, too, that the men who supplied America with gods and goddesses in Hollywood's heyday are themselves being turned into devils and fiends by their heirs in the Hollywood of Now. It's dull sport, indeed, and useless.